The non-partisan study of
the problems presented
by the British Empire.
How the Movement began.
What it hopes to accomplish.
Officbs: 84 ST. MARY ST., TORONTO.
The EDITH and LORNE PIERCE
COLLECTION of CANADI ANA
Queen's University at Kingston
THE ROUND TABLE COUNCIL FOR CANADA.
G. W. Allan, K.C Winnipeg, Man.
G. F. Beer Toronto, Ont.
Major O. M. Biggar Edmonton, Alta.
G. S. Campbell Halifax, N.S.
W. F. Chipman, K.C Montreal, Que.
Professor Charles W. Colby, Montreal, Que.
Hume Cronyn London, Ont.
Huntley R. Drummond Montreal, Que.
T. H. Estabrooks St. John, N.B.
R. A. Falconer, C.M.G., LL.D., Toronto, Ont.
A. J. Glazebrook Toronto, Ont.
H. V. F. Jones Toronto, Ont.
Lt.-Col. R. W. Leonard St. Catharines, Ont.
J. F. MacKay Toronto, Ont.
Lt.-Col. Vincent Massey Toronto, Ont.
G. R Marnoch Lethbridge, Alta.
Professor W. S. Milner Toronto, Ont.
W. C. Murray, LL.D Saskatoon, Sask.
R. Neilson Montreal, Que.
Lt.-Col. H. C. Osborne Toronto, Ont.
G. F. Scott Vancouver, B.C.
H. D. Scully Toronto, Ont.
F. R. Taylor, K.C St. John, N.B.
Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper,
K.C.M.G Vancouver, B.C.
Sir Edmund Walker, C.V.O. . .Toronto, Ont.
G. A. Warburton Toronto, Ont.
Sir John Willison Toronto, Ont.
Professor G. M. Wrong Toronto, Ont.
All correspondence to be addressed to :
The Secretary, The Round Table, 8If St. Mary St., Toronto,
The men who comprised the original Cana-
dian Bound Table Groups held various
views concerning the relation of Canada
to the Empire, including the belief that
national independence was the natural fu-
ture of Canada. After six years of study,
it is safe to say that the Groups now include
no one who does not believe in maintaining
in some form our Imperial connection. It
must be remembered, however, that the
organization is a movement to encourage
study and that its students have reached
different stages in their enquiry. Whatever
propaganda members of The Round Table
may be connected with as individuals, the
movement itself must stand for nothing but
the general principles which it has been
thought wise to adopt as our own and to
outline in the first chapter of this pamphlet.
WHAT IS THE ROUND TABLE?
The Round Table movement is an invitation to
thoughtful men and women everywhere to join in
the study of the meaning of the Empire and of the
problems presented by it. It is not committed to any
particular form of Imperial reconstruction, but it is
committed to the cultivation of the fundamental idea
that some system of Imperial union is a necessity.
The movement is represented by Groups of people
formed first in the Dominions and afterwards in
Great Britain, who believe that the British Empire
shows a continuous development, that it is in. a trans-
itional stage, and that in its present form it pre-
sents a Problem. The voluntary co-operation of
such Groups for investigation and study is a method
which will appeal to everyone. The aim of these
circles is simple and straightforward — the creation
of a basis of popular education for the support of
the statesmen to whom we entrust the handling of
It is by no means necessary that the men and
women comprising the Groups should have the same
experience or the same training. They will have no
difficulty in agreeing, in any case, upon the following
general principles, which will provide a common
starting point for the enquiry:
1. That Canada has shown her determination to
preserve and strengthen the ties which now bind
her to Great Britain and other portions of the
2. That effective organization of the Empire must
not involve any sacrifice of responsible govern-
ment in domestic affairs or the surrender of
control over fiscal policy by any portion of the
3. That it is an inevitable development of respon-
sible government in the Dominions that they
should assume their proportionate share in the
defence of the Empire, and shpuld have a voice
in determining its relations with other States.
4. That as soon as circumstances permit, political
leaders throughout the Empire, irrespective of
party, should meet to consider the problem.
The question of our national position is more
urgent than ever. As one Canadian statesman has
finely said, the War "has deepened our sense of
destiny. We have swung out into the full current
of the world's life: and whether we view with satis-
faction or with apprehension the situation in which
we find ourselves we can never retrace our steps.
Let us face the future with courage and faith."
THE ORIGIN OF THE ROUND TABLE
The system of Bound Table Groups as they are
known at present was developed in this country, but
the conception of a systematic research into the na-
ture of the British Empire which characterizes the
Movement had its origin in South Africa. The en-
quiry grew out of the conversations of a group of
men who played an active part in the organization of
South Africa after the War. Their concern with the
affairs of that Dominion soon grew into a careful
study of the Imperial problem as a whole, and the
character of these men, and their experience in prac-
tical politics, gave a note of seriousness to their ef-
forts. In 1910 a collection of notes on the government
of the Empire was made by these students of the
question and printed for private circulation through-
out Great Britain and the Dominions, under the name
of the ' l Green Memorandum. ' ' This volume was sub-
jected to private criticism in every part of the Em-
pire and was then reissued with a mass of annota-
tions attached. It w T as followed by numerous docu-
ments, all part of the same research, which were
submitted to small circles of men in the Dominions
who were asked to aid in The Round Table enquiry
by criticizing these reports and giving their opinions
on various phases of the Imperial problem. These
circles were the original Round Table Groups.
Such opinions and criticisms as these were never
officially published by The Round Table. Owing to
the various opinions represented in the Groups such
a course was impossible. One theory of the Empire
held in whole or in part by certain members of The
Round Table Groups has been admirably expressed
in a book, "The Problem of the Commonwealth,"
published by Mr. Lionel Curtis, not as the General
Secretary of The Round Table but solely on his own
responsibility. This represents the personal opin-
is of one student of Imperial problems, and inas-
much as it goes into considerable detail, it is unlikely
that others will be in complete agreement with it.
We are more immediately concerned with a second
phase in the development of The Round Table pro-
per. In 1911, mainly through the efforts of the late
Mr. Edward Kylie, Groups of men were formed in
Canada to study their country's relation to the
Empire and to the outside world. In these circles
the general question of our external politics was
treated, and any literature which bore on this broad
question was made the subject of study. The work
of the new Groups was, therefore, not confined to
The Round Table reports alone, although, as they
comprised the most comprehensive study of the
British Empire in existence, their importance was
With the War, The Round Table Groups in Can-
ada can be said to have arrived at a third stage in
their development. We have seen since August 4,
1914, that the Empire is a reality; but we have also
been shown that its development has not reached
finality. Whatever may be our opinions as to the
ultimate solution of the problem it is now possible
for its students to base their assumptions on such
broad principles as are laid down in Chapter I.
The Round Table Groups, formed originally to
study our relations with the British Empire, are
now of greater importance than ever. As in every
national crisis, if we are to be saved from the in-
evitable political catchword it will be because respon-
sible Canadians have so informed themselves as to
produce an educated opinion on the question at issue.
Our self -education towards this end is therefore of
profound importance. Not even the great task of
developing our natural resources should obscure
from us the necessity of understanding our position
in the world at large — political as well as economic.
It may, of course, be argued that this is a time for
deeds and not for words, that the German monster
must be laid low before we can debate the academic
question of Imperial organization. The answer to
this is two-fold: first, that the question is not aca-
demic but sternly practical ; and secondly, that those
who cannot fight have a duty to perform in behalf
of their fellow-countrymen overseas. On those of
us who are left behind is laid the responsibility of
determining, each for himself, what is the true status
and what should be the destiny of this country.
The Bound Table Groups have been founded and
are now being increased in number for the pur-
pose of providing the means of study and dis-
cussion which are necessary to such an end. The
work of these Groups, by reason of their non-par-
tisan composition, is in the nature of a free enquiry.
Whatever may be the conclusions of their members,
their study will have accomplished much; for an
informed public opinion is the best guarantee that
Canada's future will be guided by sober judgment,
and that her soldiers will not have fought vainly.
THE ROUND TABLE POSITION
The work of The Round Table Groups up to the
present might be described as a great co-operative
analysis. It should go on to a serious and open-
minded examination of the results.
The joint study of the Groups during the six years
which have elapsed since their formation is contained
in a series of reports sent out for criticism to these
various study circles throughout the Dominion, and
in a collation of this criticism which was again dis-
tributed to the Groups. Briefly, it may be said that
this co-operative study detached four lines of pos-
sible Imperial policy:
1. It may be contended that the present status
of the Dominions, with all its manifold anomalies
and acknowledged defects, should nevertheless be
2. It may be argued that the Dominions should
take their future into their own hands and assume
the position of independent states ; or, in our own
case, ask admission into the United States.
3. The time may have arrived when the Domin-
ions should severally take over the control of their
foreign policy, and co-operate to the extent to
which they may on each occasion see fit.
4. Finally, some would argue that the principle
of confederation, which has successively created
the great Dominions, should now be extended to
the Empire in so far as the questions of peace and
war and foreign policy are concerned.
Whether the government of the dependencies can
be detached from the control of the questions of
peace and war constitutes another question of great
The third alternative may be characterized as ?
policy of voluntary co-operation. It is to be noted
that an alliance for defence, which the Groups have
rarely considered, would differ from this in being
voluntary only in its inception. It would operate
automatically when the necessity for action arose.
In short, The Round Table movement aims to
awaken a spirit of thoughtful consideration and
candid, clear and persistent thinking on matters
which every British citizen should have deeply at
heart. It is the deliberate opinion of the Canadian
Council of The Round Table movement that the
question of the relation of the different Overseas Do-
minions to the Empire as a whole is rapidly becoming
an exceedingly practical question, and that Canada
will be obliged to express her opinion with respect
to this matter within a very short time after the con-
clusion of the war.
For this reason the Council earnestly hopes that
Round Table Groups may be formed in all parts of
the Dominion, in order that public sentiment may
become intelligent and Canadians be prepared, when-
ever the time for action comes, to take their full
part in adapting the organization of the Empire to
the tasks with which it will then be confronted.
THE ROUND TABLE QUARTERLY.
The first number of The Round Table quarterly-
was published in November, 1910. It was founded
by a group of men who had undergone a memorable
experience in South Africa at a great crisis in the
history of the British Empire, and the purpose with
which it was started has been steadily maintained.
This purpose was, and is, to provide a continuous
record, unspoiled by the influence of local party dif-
ferences, of the larger affairs of the Empire as a
whole, and of each of its great Dominions and
All those associated with the conduct of The Eound
Table have had this conviction in their hearts : name-
ly, that there is a vital unity in this Commonwealth
composed of a quarter of the human race ; that the
world is undergoing changes under which a continu-
ance of the Empire's unity may demand reconstruc-
tion of its internal relations ; that its preservation is
of vital interest to all its parts, and to the peace and
happiness of the world ; and, finally, that under these
circumstances the best service that can be rendered
to the Empire is to provide reliable and non-partisan
information of events and opinions within the Em-
pire and in the world at large, so far as they mutually
affect each other. And this is what The Round Table
quarterly is doing.
Anyone who wishes either
to join or to form a Round
Table Group is invited to
communicate with the
Secretary, The Round Table,
84 St. Mary St., Toronto, who
will furnish all necessary in-
I. What is The Round Table ?
II. The Origin of The Round Table.
III. The Round Table Position.
IV. The Round Table Quarterly.